Monday, October 10, 2016

Paragliding Bassano, Italy

Next stop was Bassano del Grappa, north of Venice at the edge of the mountains. We stayed at Antica Abbazia, an old building that had been renovated and extended into a small hotel and a large (and busy) restaurant. It was very close to the landing zone and the start of the road up the hill to launch.

We had some great flights here, but it’s a very popular place. I cringed when we arrived at launch the first morning and saw 30 or 40 pilots waiting to launch. In addition, it wasn’t a very big launch area and there was barely any room to get your wing ready. It actually wasn’t too bad since a lot of the pilots were waiting for better thermal conditions and not trying to launch.

Bassano launch

The launch was covered with outdoor carpet which was nice, but it was also steep enough that your wing would slide down the slope unless you had someone to hold it. It was also a bit slippery even to stand on. The big audience made me nervous but thankfully my launches went well.

Of course, there were lots of gliders in the air as well. At one point Shelley counted about 80 in the air. Add in the ones waiting to launch, and the ones that had already landed and I'd guess there were something like 130 people flying that day.

Conditions were good on our first flight and I had no trouble finding lift, even though I was avoiding the crowded areas (where people were all chasing the same thermals) I could have stayed up longer, but after an hour I was satisfied and headed down.

Although Nick figured our chances of flying from the top launch were only 50-50, we headed up late in the afternoon to check it out. Lucky for us, conditions were great and we had awesome flights down in the late evening light. Even better, there was only one other person launching and they left soon after we arrived.

Bassano top launch

The following photos are extracted from my video of the flight. Here was just after launch, flying over the road up:

flying from Bassano top launch

A little further down (notice the other glider)

flying from Bassano top launch

Beautiful countryside:

flying from Bassano top launch

Heading for the landing zone (the large field on the left)

heading for Bassano LZ

See all 9 photos as a slideshow or overview

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